MADISON, Wis. — ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom filed a lawsuit today on behalf of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Roman Catholic Foundation against the regents of the University of Wisconsin, seeking an end to their latest attack on the free speech and freedom of association rights of religious groups on the system’s campuses.
“It is past time for the university to grant Christian student groups the same rights and privileges that it grants all other groups on campus,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French, director of ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom. “Over the past few months, the university has launched what appears to be a purge of Christian groups from its campus. The Roman Catholic Foundation is fighting for basic legal equality and fairness.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has refused to recognize the school’s Roman Catholic Foundation, a group that has served over 50,000 students at the university since its inception in 1883. The school contends that the foundation is allegedly in violation of the school’s “anti-discrimination” policy, which requires the foundation to open up its leadership even to those students who do not support the group’s mission. De-recognition results in the loss of equal access to school facilities and also represents a continuation of university efforts to deny student fee funding to the foundation.
Last month, ADF filed a lawsuit against the University of Wisconsin-Superior, which had de-recognized the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter on that campus for similar reasons. Earlier this year, ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom successfully defended the right for a resident assistant to hold a private Bible study in his dormitory room at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus.
“It’s ridiculous that we have to file lawsuits against the university system time and time again in order to protect basic First Amendment rights,” French said. “But we will continue to do so until the university realizes that it cannot continue its attacks on the religious freedom of its students.”
A copy of the complaint in University of Wisconsin-Madison Roman Catholic Foundation v. Walsh can be read here.
ADF’s Center for Academic Freedom is defending religious freedom at America’s public universities. ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.